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PLoS Genet. 2010 Oct 14;6(10):e1001159. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001159.

Lifespan extension by preserving proliferative homeostasis in Drosophila.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA.


Regenerative processes are critical to maintain tissue homeostasis in high-turnover tissues. At the same time, proliferation of stem and progenitor cells has to be carefully controlled to prevent hyper-proliferative diseases. Mechanisms that ensure this balance, thus promoting proliferative homeostasis, are expected to be critical for longevity in metazoans. The intestinal epithelium of Drosophila provides an accessible model in which to test this prediction. In aging flies, the intestinal epithelium degenerates due to over-proliferation of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and mis-differentiation of ISC daughter cells, resulting in intestinal dysplasia. Here we show that conditions that impair tissue renewal lead to lifespan shortening, whereas genetic manipulations that improve proliferative homeostasis extend lifespan. These include reduced Insulin/IGF or Jun-N-terminal Kinase (JNK) signaling activities, as well as over-expression of stress-protective genes in somatic stem cell lineages. Interestingly, proliferative activity in aging intestinal epithelia correlates with longevity over a range of genotypes, with maximal lifespan when intestinal proliferation is reduced but not completely inhibited. Our results highlight the importance of the balance between regenerative processes and strategies to prevent hyperproliferative disorders and demonstrate that promoting proliferative homeostasis in aging metazoans is a viable strategy to extend lifespan.

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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